Intune vs. AirWatch

Written by Zach DeMeyer on June 30, 2020

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In the MDM (mobile device management) space there is a wide range of solutions. With iOS and Android devices in just about every business professional’s hands, it is easy to understand why MDM is such a hot market. In this post, we compare Microsoft Intune versus VMware AirWatch.

A Changing IT Landscape

IT organizations are looking for deeper device management solutions. With a changing IT landscape, end users choose the platforms they like best and IT organizations want to support that because it makes their end users more productive. That broadening of platforms includes macOS and Linux systems, and then mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets. That said, It’s worth noting that environments that are homogeneously Mac may benefit most from an Apple-friendly MDM like Apple Business Essentials.

Managing Devices: VMware Airwatch vs. Microsoft Intune

There is a wide range of device management needs that need to be covered, and every organization is different, so it’s important to take inventory of those needs. Some are focused on how to control iOS and Android devices to protect corporate data. Others require deeper system management capabilities for macOS and Linux machines, which is starting to meld with the MDM category. 

Generally, where Intune and AirWatch shine is where they started their business – in the mobile device management space. They enable activities such as remote wipe, account lockouts, app control, and even container management to separate personal and corporate data. With Intune, because of the tight integration with Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure®, it can control conditional access to Azure resources—i.e. if a user’s device is compliant, the user can use it to access Microsoft 365™.

Intune has historically been tightly tied to Microsoft, and for those organizations that are focused on Microsoft and Azure technology, Intune can be an excellent choice for MDM. On the other hand, AirWatch has become an MDM market leader through strong MDM and MAM functionality across platforms. It is also vendor-neutral, meaning that it is used more by heterogeneous environments than Intune, but offers similar functionality nonetheless.

Regardless, neither is a complete solution for device management and IT admins will need additional tools or may choose an alternative to Intune or AirWatch altogether. Other common comparisons in this arena include Intune vs. MobileIron, Intune vs. SCCM, and Intune vs. Jamf.

Managing Systems

While the Intune versus AirWatch competition is interesting on the MDM side, many IT administrators also need to solve the problem of cross-platform control over users and their Windows®, macOS, and Linux systems. Traditionally, this problem was solved using Active Directory®, although IT organizations of the time (the late 90’s) were almost entirely Windows machines. With the dramatic increase in macOS and Linux systems, AD has struggled to be the core identity and system management platform.

The good news is that a next generation cloud identity management solution gives IT admins full user management control across IT resources and system management for macOS, Linux, and Windows, and employs the MDM protocol to widen the scope of services. This cloud directory service provides a True Single Sign-On™ experience for admins and end users, with a single identity to connect users to all of their vital workday resources. 

As a centralized directory, the solution reimagines Active Directory for modern IT and also integrates device management capabilities. Over time, it is widely believed that many of these disparate categories will merge into access control and device management in one platform. 

User and System Management from the Cloud

There is a cloud directory platform that merges user and device management, called JumpCloud. JumpCloud’s open dirdctory platform provides centralized user and MDM/system management for modern, heterogeneous IT organizations. Admins can use either Intune or Airwatch in tandem with JumpCloud, or just use JumpCloud on its own, to manage their systems devices and apps as well.

So, regardless of the outcome of your debate of Intune versus Airwatch, JumpCloud is an excellent choice for serverless IT resource management from the cloud. You can evaluate the product in action by scheduling a free demo or by signing up for a 30 Day Trial.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a Product Marketing Specialist at JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.

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